Monday, February 1, 2010

Meet Frankenbike

After recent events (detailed later) I have decided to introduce you to my trusty steed. This is Frankenbike.

Frankenbike started her life at least 20 years ago (I'm not sure her exact age, Dad, you want to chime in here?). My dad purchased her for my mother, hoping they'd bike together. But what with the busy existence of myself and my sisters that happy thought got serious back burnered. So back burnered I don't know if my mom ever rode Frankenbike. Over the years she languished in the garage, being used as a parts reservoir for my dads bike.

Enter 2003, and I moved to Miami. As a student in Seattle, I had been a devoted bicyclist, riding my little mountain bike all over the university district. In Miami I hoped to do the same. Here's the thing. The University district, as Seattle neighborhoods go, is pretty bike friendly, and no one drives that fast. My new commute in Miami took me across the Rickenbacker Causeway. While this is one of the few roads in Miami with an actual bike lake, the adjoining traffic regularly travels at 60mph or more. The little mountain bike just wasn't fast enough. I began to talk about getting a road bike, to be at least a little faster (I realized that there was no way I'll go 60 mph, I just needed more speed of some kind). Mentioning this to my dad, he proposed to send me Frankenbike. A week later she arrived in the mail, and now her transformation had truely begun.

When she arrived to me, she was largely in tact, except for one critical feature. No Pedals. So I bought some new ones. However rather than sticking with her road bike toe clip roots or going for some fancy clips, I went with hybrid pedals, more commonly used on commuter bikes. I wanted something with options for my urban ride.

A couple years later she was further transformed. I wanted to add a rack and panniers. Sure they add weight, but I wanted to be able to carry more stuff since I was after all commuting. Only problem, being from a true road bike pedigree, Frankenbike lacked the cleats for attaching the rack. No problem, I found some convenient adapters, and a rack was attached.

More recently, I moved to Seattle. I'd been riding on some (quite old, but still usable) slick road tires for all of Frankenbikes life so far, but in Miami most of my rides were relatively dry. Here in Seattle I commute every day by bicycle, rain or shine. After one close call of skidding out, I made the decision that I was definitely going to to need commuter tires for the winter, so I took her in and had some wider commuter tires put on. Her transformation to commute bike was complete. But the fun wouldn't stop there.

Saturday I was involved in a crash. Specifically, I was hit by a car. In my neighborhood a lot of intersections don't have stop signs, and as I went through, a car didn't see me and caught my back wheel (though in all fairness, I had seen the car and attempted to yield because I could tell the driver didn't see me, but the pavement was wet, and I began to loose control of the bike as I braked hard in the wet conditions, at that point I made a snap decision that if it was going to be hood or tires, I'd rather hit the hood. I almost made it across the road, and the driver just caught my back wheel. In dry conditions this never would have happened). The guy was very nice, and very worried about me, I assured him I was ok, just a bit banged up, and we each went our separate ways. Only damage was some bruises, and the rear tire of my bike.

What you can see if you look closely is that the whole rack is shifted to the right from the impact, and the wheel is pretty warped. But pretty minimal all things considered. Took her in to the ASUW bike shop, and with the crackling of lightning and cries of "SHE'S ALIVE!!!!! REALLY ALIVE"......they replaced the back wheel. Frankenbike indeed.

New wheel isn't fancy, but frankly, while I am an enthusiastic bicyclist, I am not a serious one (ie, I love commuting, and suffer from the delusion that I am tough and fast, but in my heart I know I'm no Lance Armstrong...doesn't stop me though) so Frankenbike with all her Frankenparts will serve me well for years to come.

P.S. Yeah the candy, totally full of crack! I sooooo agree.


Hartley's said...

how scary- I am glad you are okay and your trusty steed too!

charles said...

Frankenbike was bought about '86 or '87 in Colorado. She rode it some including one notable ride at Chatfield lake when she was hit by a boat trailer. She rode it less after we moved to Washington.